The trip to Durban was a disaster. Our agent had booked us into the Lonsdale Hotel's El Castilian nightspot to fill in a two month gap in order to synchronize with the three-monthly contract cycle at the Carlton Hotel. But without our knowledge, the Lonsdale's agent had booked an overseas band to start their contract on what would have been the beginning of our second month, and were were going to be ditched! Fortunately for me, the Keilly brothers' home town was up the road in Pietermartizburg and one of the former Rising Suns band members Andy Potgieter came to the rescue by arranging for us to play the missing month at the Imperial Hotel.
It was here that I met a young girl and once the band had left Pietermaritzburg for Johannesburg, smitten as I was, I wanted to be with her. We maintained our relationship for the next few months with me leaving Jo'burg at 12:30 am on a Saturday night to drive to Pietermaritzburg through the night (during the fuel crisis with its 80km/hr blanket speed limits) to spend Sunday and the night before driving back in readiness for Monday night's performance. She also visited me in Jo'burg during her vacation, and I was believed that this was it for me! (ignorance of youth?)
So after four months I resigned from the band (the gig was never that good anyway - at least now I knew what it was like to play in hotels!) and returned to Pietermaritzburg to be with my fresh-out-of-school girlfriend, and, unbelievably, we were married soon after that. To this day I cannot believe that we could have made such a dumb move, and I have often wonderded how her parents could have allowed this, but then, her father had already given away three daughters (with two to go) and I'm sure he was on a roll. Little did I know that this decision of mine was to have profound consequences for me, not only regarding the musical career that I had set my sights on, but then many years later when cracks appeared in our relationship.
After getting married, in order to earn a living, I did what was easiest - I got a job as a junior structural engineer and was immediately given the task of designing a prestressed concrete highway bridge (which stands to this day near Pennington, KZN South Coast). Inevitably, I soon came up against a cultural barrier in that I could not adjust to the conservatism that was part and parcel of the consulting engineering profession and after almost a year in the job I simply walked out one day. Music was calling again (as my boss had always anticipated) and we made plans to go to Jo'burg.
Linda gave me much support through the years that followed but after ten years of good times things sadly started falling apart for us which led to much upheaval for each other and our children, ultimately leading to us parting ways after 24 years of marriage.
We both remember the best of times to this day, as the hard times recede in our consciousnes.